Five Don'ts To Keep In Mind When Cleaning Your Metal Roof

Posted on: 5 June 2017

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If you have a metal roof, you may want to clean it annually. That keeps your roof looking visually appealing. In addition, regular cleaning also makes it easier to stay up to date on maintenance, as you can take note of issues and attend to them right away. If you don't clean your roof, you may not notice some of these issues, and they may get worse.

To be effective, however, there are a few cleaning and safety mistakes you may want to avoid.

1. Don't Use a Pressure Washer on High

Ideally, you should avoid using a pressure washer on a high setting on your roof. Excess pressure can dent the metal on your roof. In some cases, water can also get in between the seams of the metal roof, and that can lead to water damage in your joists or attic.  

If you decide to use a pressure washer, make sure to keep it on a relatively gentle setting. Also, be sure that the stream of water follows the ribs straight up and down. Don't shoot the water at the roof from the sides.

While standing on the ground, clean the roof from the top to the bottom. If you are leery about using a pressure washer, you can just use a hose with a spray handle. That can be a lot easier.

2. Don't Forget Fall Protection and Safety Gear

To clean your roof effectively, you may need to climb up there and spot clean some places by hand. Even if you normally feel safe and stable on a roof, don't risk working on a wet roof without some protection. Ideally, you should use a harness. That way, if you slip and fall, the harness will catch you and help prevent serious injuries.

You may also want to wear sturdy work boots. The metal at the edges of the roofing panels may sometimes curl up, and that can create dangerous protrusions along your roof. Also, while scrubbing, you should wear gloves to protect your hands from both the cleaners and the metal.

3. Don't Use Steel Wool or Harsh Cleaners

If you've got a stubborn stain on your roof, don't attack it with steel wool or abrasive cleaners. That could scratch your metal roof. Instead, use soap and water with a soft-bristled scrubbing brush.

For mold or algae in particular, you need to change the pH levels in the area so that it is no longer hospitable for that type of growth.

Bleach has long been a popular solution for fighting algae, and it can work, but it can also run down the roof and affect your pets or plants. Instead, you may want to try scrubbing these areas with oxygen bleach. That is non-toxic and can be used on a range of surfaces.

4. Don't Clean the Gutters First

As you clean your roof, debris, dirt, leaves, and other gunk will roll down the roof into the gutters. Once you are done cleaning the roof, you should address the gutters. Otherwise your storm drainage won't work, and more debris may just build up on your roof.

To be effective and avoid wasting time, you should never clean your gutters first. You'll just have to repeat the process when you are done cleaning your roof.

5. Don't Forget to Look for Damage

As indicated above, the annual cleaning is a great time to look for roof damage. If you see any corrosion, loose panels, or other issues, contact a metal roof specialist. They can look over the situation and give you advice about which repairs you need. In some cases, they may even suggest that it's time for a new roof.